Helpful advice advice for anyone who has a loved one battling cancer.

How You Can Help a Friend with Cancer

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We asked Dulcie Grabarczyk, the patient speaker for this year’s “Don’t Sit on Colon Cancer” 5K race to provide helpful advice for anyone who has a loved one battling cancer. Here is what she had to say:

• Let them know you are thinking about them.  I often hear people say that they don't know what to say to someone with cancer.  It doesn't need to be anything profound.  Just let them know you care.  Call.  Send a card. I felt such an outpouring of love while I was sick, from strangers as well as friends.  Visits from friends gave me a break from thinking about cancer, and it was a welcome change to hear about normal life.

• Offer concrete help.  Rather than saying, “Let me know what I can do,” offer to do something specific. Chances are your friend won’t ask for help but they’d be happy to take you up on a specific offer. Set up a meal train. Help with yard work or house work. Help with kids. Accompany your friend to treatments. Dulcie could focus on healing and resting so she could spend quality time with her children because friends and family helped with the kids and around the house.

• Don’t forget about the caregiver: The impact on spouses is often overlooked. Dealing with cancer is an adjustment for the entire family  Dulcie’s husband, Jason, was extremely helpful taking care of her, as well as taking on additional responsibilities with the kids and household chores. She believes caregivers need support, too. Be there for them and give them a break, too.  "Cancer was a learning curve for all of us.  I'm grateful for those who helped support my husband as well as myself."